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Although there haven’t been very many confirmed cases of influenza in Greene County so far this season, the worst may be yet to come.
The first case was reported in September. The H1N1 strain didn’t originate here—the patient contracted it while on a cruise ship. Since then, cases of the flu have been few. Kendra Williams is administrator of community health and epidemiology with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department…
"We definitely haven't seen the activity that I would expect. I assume that we'll start seeing a peak in activity anytime. Normally, you know, beginning of January, we start seeing that activity, but we just haven't yet."
Only 16 flu cases have been confirmed so far in Greene County. But the number of cases could rise. According to Williams, the worst of the flu season starts in January, peaks in February and starts to lessen in March…
"I definitely expect to see more cases. It's just a matter of when it starts to circulate."
Williams isn’t sure why we’ve had such a mild flu season so far. She says hospitals are keeping track of the number of cases, and it isn’t that more people are getting the vaccine. She says the vaccination rate is down this year.
She hopes it will remain a quiet flu season. But she advises people to get their flu shots if they haven’t already done so…
"Get your shot now. It takes two weeks to build that immune response, so it takes two weeks for you to become fully protected with the vaccine once you get it, so go ahead and get it."
To find out how to get an influenza vaccine, call the Health Department’s Westside Public Health Center at 874-1220 or check with your doctor.
For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.